Mobile operator Vodacom will use Alphabet’s Loon balloon-carried base stations to extend its coverage in Mozambique.
The balloons will be 20km above the ground in the provinces of Cabo Delgado and Niassa, in the north of the country close to the border with Tanzania.
Loon’s CEO, Alastair Westgarth declared, “We view this as the first step to a larger partnership that will allow us to serve more of those users throughout Africa.”
Loon is already experimenting with balloons in Kenya, on the other side of Tanzania, in a project with Telkom Kenya.
On the other hand, the group CEO of Vodacom, Shameel Joosub, said, “We look forward to forging similar partnerships and projects across the continent, as we ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to accessing the global digital economy.”
The balloons will deliver voice, data. SMA and USSD on 4G, as well as M-Pesa mobile financial services.
Westgarth also declared, “Since Loon vehicles float on wind currents in the stratosphere, they are constantly moving in and out of a given service region. With two countries in close proximity to one another, we can share vehicles across service regions when it makes sense to do so, which will increase our utilization rates. It’s pretty cool that in the lifespan of one vehicle, it could serve in multiple countries, multiple times.”